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updated: 4/14/2010 10:07 AM

Two new principals headed for Antioch District 117

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  • Eric Ernd will be the new principal at Antioch Community High School.

    Eric Ernd will be the new principal at Antioch Community High School.

By Vincent Pierri

The impending retirement of Antioch Community High School District 117 Superintendent Jay Sabatino has created a domino effect that will see new principals for the district's two high schools.

Eric Ernd and Steve Plank will lead Antioch and Lakes community high schools, respectively.

They replace Mike Nekritz and Jim McKay, who will fill Sabatino's post as co-superintendents starting this summer.

Both Ernd and Plank say they are anxious to get started in their new roles.

Currently the fine arts chair at Stevenson High School, Plank, 36, has a 14-year history in education, with most of those years in administrative roles.

A resident of Salem, Wis., Plank was principal at Durand High School in Durand, Wis., and also a principal at Bradford High School in Kenosha before coming to Stevenson.

Plank said his time at Stevenson was a detour from administration, and he longs to get back into that role.

"I feel like I'm returning to something I really love," Plank said. "I love that schoolwide leadership perspective. It's an opportunity to influence with a greater perspective."

Still being a fairly new school, Plank said Lakes has made great strides since it opened in 2004. He wants to build on that.

"Nothing is broken; it's a very strong school," Plank said. "My desire is to push for even more excellence."

Ernd, 42, has been the assistant principal at Wauconda High School for the past six years. A resident of Lakewood, near Crystal Lake, Ernd was dean at south suburban Thornridge High School for 10 years before coming to Wauconda.

He said Antioch High is on the cutting edge of instruction.

"They really have a good vision of 21st century education," Ernd said. "They are a beacon within the community, too. They are very community-minded. Their action matches their words."

Ernd said his first priority will be getting the lay of the land.

"I want to learn the culture and climate and begin to build good, trusting relationships with all the stakeholders," he said.

Plank's annual base salary will be $130,000 and Ernd will be paid $123,000. The difference is reflective of Ernd's choice of insurance options and the fact a portion of Plank's salary will be used to pay for tuition for his pursuit of a doctoral degree, Sabatino said.